My Dad...

My Dad...
Herbie "Pompeii" Pilato

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"A Candle Carol": The Sequel

A few weeks before Christmas 2009, I was contemplating where I would spend the holidays. In making the decision, I relayed on this blog my experience of visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City - and how it affected my decision. The result was a post I titled, "A Candle Carol."

A friend read that post, and emailed me her response. It was such a touching response, that I asked her if I could post her commentary on my blog. She agreed. As a result, below is "A Candle Carol: The Sequel" - in her own words. And for your convenience and clarity, following my friend's story, you will find the original "Candle Carol."




"A Candle Carol": The Sequel (by my friend who I will call "Julie")

I love your story...

I have to share ours about St. Patrick's cathedral in NYC (as yours reminds me of ours).

As you may or may not know, Tom and I started seeing a doctor in Manhattan to try and conceive a baby about two years ago (this was after spending two years at Strong Fertility in Rochester).

Each time we went into the city, we made a stop into St. Patrick's to say a prayer that one day we would have a baby.

One day I remember walking down the streets of NYC and Tom found a $20 bill (can you imagine...a $20 bill laying on the streets of NYC that no one had picked up?).

We were headed to St. Patrick's. We picked up the money and I said to him that it wasn't ours...but instead we should give it back to the church and light the candles with it as a donation. We did just that.

On one of our later visits to NYC, we had my surgery to retrieve what appeared to be my last eggs to try and have a baby. The retrieval is all about "when your baby is ready and the eggs are most fertile."

Amazingly enough, my body was not ready until St. Patrick's day. (My doctor's office is on 5th Avenue. You can only imagine how hard it was to get there and get out of the city in the midst of a large parade. The surgery was that day.)

I woke up from the surgery and my doctor patted me on the leg and said, "It might be time for an egg donor. We only got 3 eggs out. Only one of those 3 eggs fertilized."

Amazingly enough, that is the embryo that is back in my now and I am 8 months pregnant.

I am most certain that our prayers we said at St. Patrick's each and every visit were answered. I truly believe the candles are magical there.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"A Candle Carol"

Below is an essay I originally posted last Christmas, and I wanted to share it again this year.



Where to spend Christmas?

It's always a quandry.

More so, this year, than others.

This year, I'm working in Pompano Beach, Florida, after only seven months prior, moving from my hometown of Rochester, New York back to Los Angeles (where I've held periodic residence since the 1980s).

So I did this morning what I always do when I have a decision to make:

I took a walk.

My pace this morning took me to St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, where good friends of mine recently celebrated the Baptism of their beautiful infant son. The father is not only my friend, but my supervisor at work.

That said, once in St. Gabriel's, I decided to light a candle. But when I walk, I usually do not carry any cash - and this morning was no different.

So, there I was, praying in church, which was so nicely decorated for Christmas, and unable to light a candle for a special prayer.

Immediately, I recalled a business trip last September to New York, where myself, my supervisor and his brother, the president of the company for which I work - and also my friend, had visited the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And we had done so by mistake. Or at least we thought so.

As we walked to enjoy the sights of New York, we came across a church, and thought, "Well, this looks like a nice church. Let's go in here and say a prayer."

Once inside the beautiful structure, we realized where we were - and we were immediately in awe.

As we slowly toured through the palatial interior, we passed beauitful illustrations, images, paintings, sculptures and statues, all of which were overwhelming.

In time, we came across the candles, the cost of which to light one was $2.00.

But there we were - three successful adult men, with credit cards, debit cards and check cards - but just $4.00 in cash. And that meant we only had enough for just two of us to light candles for prayer.

Whether or not the president of the company, who also happens to be elder brother of the two, would be able to light a candle was never a question.

So it was between his younger brother and me.

And it was an easy decision. I told my friend, "You take the other $2.00 and light a candle...for your new son."

"Herb," he said, "are you sure?"

"Please," I replied. "Light the candle. I insist."

With that, I stepped back, and watched my supervisor and my friend kneel before the levels of candles, and pray for his beautiful child. And even though none of us had an extra $2.00 for a candle that would have ignited a special request for me, somehow I knew that my prayer would still be answered.

And it was. These two months later...this St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, Florida...when I realized that wherever I am, at any time of the year, is where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Message of Light for the Holidays"

In the beginning, we were all one big ball of light. Then a few of us decided (through the gift of Love=God's free will) that we needed to separate into billions of tiny balls of light. Then a few more decided that we needed to take physical form.

Sooner, than later, we found ourselves divided by all kinds of issues (with no answers) that we created, not Love=God. And now we have to create the circumstances (i.e. Earthly challenges with which to learn life lessons and/or reincarnating until we get it right - learning that love is the answer to everything) so we can return us to where we started:

Together, united as one - back to Love=God.

So here's a quick guide:

Holidays like Christmas and Easter are symbolic messages of whom and what Love=God is in our lives. Love=God comes to us as we believe Him to be. If we are Christian, then we believe Him (and will see Him) as Jesus.

Muslim? Allah.

Buddhist? Buddha.

And so on, and so forth, and so good.

Jesus was Love=God Incarnate on Earth. As the Son of Love=God, He was and is the Awesome Deliverer.

As the Son of Man, He was and is everything that each of us should aspire to be in/on this Earth realm.

As a Human Being, he was one of the kindest to ever have lived. As a Historical Figure, he was a genius. Jesus' life was a living parable...a parable similar to those he was so fond of dispelling while he was on Earth.

The Birth of Jesus is symbolic of the Birth of the Christ Consciousness in each of us. The Resurrection of Jesus, is symbolic of the Resurrection of our Hearts, Minds and Souls to our Higher Consciousness.

Joseph Campbell was right:

Look to the message behind the myth, myth, here meaning, story, a.k.a. Bible Stories.

This doesn't mean that the Bible stories are myths, as in "fantasies" or as in "never happened."

No. Indeed, they were real and did transpire.

But they transpired as history and parable, and we must concentrate on the latter as lesson for the development of our souls. In doing so, we must not employ judgment. Rather, we must love and respect one another, ignore our differences, and concentrate on what makes us the same - which is Love=God.

Love=God doesn't give a flying fig if you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Black, White, Straight, Gay, or Martian.

We're all on different paths that lead to the same destination.

Once again, back to Love=God.

It's that simple, and it's not difficult and it has nothing to do with hate, for there is only love. It has nothing to do with death, for there is only life. After what we call death, there is only more life, and that has nothing to do with division and the end of the world. For there are only new beginnings, and unity, linked by Love=God.

Therefore, hold on to Love=God, and let go of the world...

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season - and may ALL of your hearts truest desires come true.

Herbie J

Monday, December 13, 2010

"How To Feel Like A Dog And Make It Work For You"

A dog knows when you have positive or negative intentions and/or emotions, not only by the fluctuating "high-happy" or "low-sad" pitched inflections of your vocal chords (high-happy, sounding something like: "Com'ere, baby...! Come on...come on! There ya' go!) - but also in the "sense" that he or she receives, instinctively.

Humans, meanwhile, may also act on those same instincts or intuition. If something doesn't "feel" right about a person or a situation, that's our dog or "spider" senses tingling. And we should adhere to them.

If we ourselves are dispersing not-so-positive "vibrations," then we better get to the bottom of our ill manner, delete it from your "system," and go on our merry way.

Essentially, everyone loves the carefree spirit. And it's not always easy to retain such a happy spirit in these challenging times. But one thing is for sure:

Retaining a carefree spirit has the power to transform each of us into "Magnets of Light."

I know...sounds melodramatic. But here's the deal:

Our individual potential "Magnet of Light" personas or "Carefree Spirits," may be reflected and/or increased by one very simple phrase and response to life's general issues:

"It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

When we employ such a phrase (or at least the carefree temperament that such a phrase implies) in response to the general challenges of life (i.e. stuck in traffic, not always getting your way, etc.), things tend to work out pretty well (one way or the other).

Can't really explain how it works; just know that it does.

Either way, couldn't hurt to try it, right?

'Course not.

Because either way, "It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Mom and the 28 Quarters"

As long as I can remember, my Mom always prayed for everyone, especially children.

In fact, upon seeing any child, she would take out her rosary beads and say a prayer, right there, at that moment, wherever she was, asking permission from the accompanying parent if it was okay for her to bless their child.

"Of course," they'd say.

Then, every Monday-Friday, my Mom visited the Senior Center, which used to cost her about $5.00 a day, which included lunch, and van service (which picked her up and drove her home).

Twenty-five bucks a week for a senior's regular activities?

Not bad at all.

At this simple-treasured Center, she'd also play cards, went on picnics, and played bingo. She especially loved the bingo.

A whole lot.

I never realized how much, really.

Until, one day, when I started giving her "extra" quarters with which to play the game.

Not a lot of quarters. Just seven dollars worth.

Every other day, I'd walk into her apartment, and interrupt her daily viewing of Murder, She Wrote or The Golden Girls, walk over to her, kiss her, and ask her to open up her hand.

At that moment, I'd pour out the seven dollars in quarters, 28 in all.

As I did this, her reaction was one of astonishment. She looked as if she won the lottery or the mega-jackpot in Vegas.

"Oh, Herbie J," she'd say with so much joy, "...what a great son you are! I have to pay you back! I have to pay you back!!"

"Ma," I replied, "You just go have fun at the Center."

And she did, all the more...with that mere extra seven dollars.

Not a million.

Not a thousand.

Not even ten.

Just seven.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Parents Had "20/20" Vision - From The "In-Sight, Out"

You may remember a post I made here on my blog back in February of 2010. It was titled, "My Dad Had Twenty Hearts," and it had to do with a trip I took to Charleston, South Carolina to do research for The Bionic Book - on the set on the final Bionic TV-reunion movie, Bionic Ever After.

I re-post that recollection today, following this new recollection having to do with a night I planned to have a good time in Rochester, circa 1989, long before THE "BIONIC" BOOK was finally published (in 2007), not to mention also before my first book, THE "BEWITCHED" BOOK, was published (in 1992).

Since both recollections had to do with my parents generosity and beautiful hearts, I thought to combine the memories - today, in this one post.




I had left Los Angeles in the Fall of 1989, a few months after I had met Elizabeth Montgomery, while doing early research for what would become the first Bewitched Book. In writing this first book, I had absolutely nothing.

And when I say, "nothing," I mean, "nothing." Not a stick of furniture or a dime or a car or "nothing." I had to sell all of my furniture and belongings to pay my rent and eat, and I was planning on returning to my hometown of Rochester to complete the book - which I did, ultimately, in the room in which I spent my latter teen years.

But I digress.

One night, while back in that Rochester of 1989, I wanted to go out with a few friends for a reunion of sorts. But I had no money to spend, even for a ginger ale. So I asked my Mom if I could borrow $20.00. And that was a hard thing to do. I had already returned to their home, was eating their food, and living in their house for free - all as an adult. And now, I was asking for money to go "party."

But when I asked my Mom for that twenty bucks, she didn't flinch for a second, and gave it to me immediately.

I remember how I felt with after she handed it to me. Before she did so, I felt like a "loser," after she did so, I felt like "a million bucks."

How could $20.00 make such a difference?

How could I have given it that much power over me?

I soon would find out.

That night, I took that $20 and met my friends. We all met at a local bar, and as I recall, there were many pretty girls. And I was "safe," because I had that 20 in my pocket, and I would be able to buy at least one drink for one of the ladies.

Is that insane, or what?

But before I even decided who or what was or wasn't crazy, I reached into my pocket for the "money," and realized it was gone. I had lost it. And I was pissed off.

So much so, that I allowed it to not only ruin my evening, but to somehow diffuse any "good" energy or carefree spirit that I may have ignited in myself that night. But more than that, I thought how much I would disappoint my Mom when I would tell her about losing the twenty.

Twenty dollars is certainly not a lot of money today, and it wasn't even a lot of money in 1989, but it was a generous gift from my Mom, who never had a lot of money to any decade.

In any case, after I realized I was "broke" that night (on many levels), I left the bar and returned home...early.

I come in the door at my parent's house at about 10:00 PM, and my Mom wondered why. I was clearly upset, and she wondered why about that, too.

"I lost that twenty you gave me, Mom. And I'm so sorry. I'm just an idiot. I know how hard you and Dad struggle, and here I am, taking twenty bucks from you...taking advantage of you. And then, not evening having the good sense to be careful with what you give me."

Again, I told her, "I'm SO sorry."

As I stood there, in emotional ruin, near the hall stairs, my Mom just looked at me a minute and said, "Herbie're going to let a mere twenty dollars run your life? You're a better man than that...and you have a better MIND than that. That twenty dollars doesn't mean anything to me. But you mean everything."

And with that, she reached for her purse, and took out another $20.00, and handed it over to me, saying, "Go back out with your friends - and have a good time."

She didn't add, "And just be careful" or "This time, be more mindful" or anything of that.

She just said, "Go back out with your friends - and have a good time."

I hesitated. I didn't even care to return to that (then-smoked-filled) bar. But my Mom insisted. "Go," she said.

And so I did.

However, I'm not sure if I used that "second twenty bucks" to buy any drinks for any pretty girls. But I do know that the carefree spirit that was once infused by that first 20 was now alive in me because I now knew just how blessed I was to have such an awesome with an endless, unconditional, nonjudgemental such a generous way that was simply not of this world.

But thank God she - and my Dad - were in mine.


MY DAD HAD TWENTY HEARTS (originally posted in February, 2010)

Way back in 1994, when I was doing early research for The Bionic Book, I was fortunate enough to visit the set of the third and final Bionic reunion movie, Bionic Ever After, when Steve Austin (as played by Lee Majors) and Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) finally married. The movie was being filmed in Charleston, South Carolina - a place I had then yet to visit.

Meanwhile, and unfortunately, my Dad was suffering from lung cancer back in my hometown of Rochester NY, and I was about whether or not to leave him for the film.

But my Dad, ever stoic, insisted that I take the trip. He knew how much being on the set of that movie would ultimately mean and contribute to my book. He also knew that I needed a rest from caregiving. That's the kind of man that he was.

So, I made my plans to leave for Charleston. Yet, before doing so, I took a walk with my Dad to the pool that was part of the townhome complex where we lived.

There I was - young, healthy, excited about the trip. And yet sad...because I was walking with my elderly, ill father, who only months before, had been the picture of health himself. In fact, he had not been sick a day in his life, and at 83-years-old, he had always looked much younger. If anyone could have been a movie-star, it was my Dad.

But not at the time of our walk. Not with his walker. And not with the tubes that ran from his nose to the oxygen tank.

My Dad's heart, however, was in peak condition, physically and emotionally. His pride was there for his son - as was his generosity - which was "on the money."

For in the middle of the walk, my Dad stopped, and reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill - which he had somehow prepared to give me before we started the walk.

"Here," he said, "you take this...for your trip. In case you need it."

At this point, of course, I was making money as a writer. Not hundreds of thousands, but certainly enough to get me to Charleston and back.

But I could not turn away from Dad's mere twenty-dollar offer.

I looked in his eyes. The sincerity, with which he was giving me that small amount of money, was so loving-kind, pensive and massive. It would have cracked his heart in two had I rejected his offer.

What's more, by this time, the cancer in his lungs had slightly started to affect his emotions - and his thinking. My Dad's age, combined with the general inability to grasp onto just how different the world had become, how twenty dollars was really not a lot of money - for a young man or even a senior - all worked to cloud his perspective.

Ultimately, for my Dad, that twenty dollars was a lot of money. For me, it was a modest amount that became a priceless gift.